Economy

UK renews Sh9bn Nanyuki military training pact

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Some of the vehicles used by the British Army Training Unit of Kenya based in Nanyuki. PHOTO | FILE

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Summary

  • The UK has renewed its multi-billion shilling defence pact that allows its troops to continue training at Nanyuki.
  • The new Defence Co-operation Agreement (DCA) was signed in London Wednesday by Kenya's Defence secretary Monica Juma, and her UK counterpart Ben Wallace.

The UK has renewed its multi-billion shilling defence pact that allows its troops to continue training at Nanyuki.

The new Defence Co-operation Agreement (DCA) was signed in London Wednesday by Kenya's Defence secretary Monica Juma, and her UK counterpart Ben Wallace on the sidelines of President Kenyatta’s three-day official visit to the UK.

“Kenya has long been our defence partner of choice in East Africa and, in a more uncertain world, we will continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder as we tackle the threats of tomorrow," said the UK Defence secretary following the signing of the pact.

The agreement takes effect after ratification by both the UK and Kenya parliaments.

The Sh9 billion Kenya-UK military training pact that was last renewed in 2015 has in the past been dogged by allegation of gross human rights violation by British troops.

A previous attempt to extend the military engagement almost collapsed over allegations that the UK had sought to shield its troops from prosecution in Kenya for any offences they commit during the training but it was renewed in 2015 after Kenya won its bid to try errant British soldiers locally.

The new DCA, officials said, will allow for “strengthened” defence engagement in combating terrorism and boosting maritime security.

The UK as part of the deal will continue training Kenyan and other Amisom troops and the Kenyan navy.

Nanyuki, where the British Army Training Unit Kenya (BATUK) is located, offers ideal conditions for harsh environment training for the British troops.

Britain says the training camp which employs 550 locals, has contributed over Sh5.8 billion to the economies of Laikipia, Samburu and Isiolo since 2016.

It says the UK under the deal invests Sh1.16 billion annually under the deal.

1,100 Kenyan soldiers are also trained by the UK every year, in preparation for deployment to Somalia.

"Overall our cooperation continues to significantly improve the ability of our forces to operate effectively in high-threat environments,” said Mrs Juma in a statement.